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5 No-Mess Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

No carving necessary! Keep the gunk in the gourd with these easy pumpkin decorating ideas.

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Make them spooky or make them sweet, but just make sure to have a plethora of pumpkins that the kids can decorate. Here are five of our favorite ideas to make them festive but keep the gunk in the gourd.

Night Glow

Simple lines or shapes drawn on a pumpkin with glow-in-the-dark puffy paint make a quick party or porch decoration that even the smallest spooks can create.

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Supplies:
Instructions:
  1. Paint the entire pumpkin and let dry.
  2. Draw lines, squiggles, or Halloween shapes on the pumpkin using puffy paint. Let dry completely.

Monster Mashup

No crazy concoctions here, just use a clear-drying adhesive sealer, such as Mod Podge, and Halloween-themed paper clippings to create a glossy decoupage pumpkin collage. Any mess from this glue-like adhesive will easily wash off of little hands, so no big messes.

Supplies:
Instructions:
  1. Collect Halloween-themed paper clippings (ephemera, magazine clippings, decorative paper, photos copied onto printer paper, etc). Kids can play with the arrangement of clippings on a piece of paper or flat surface before they glue them onto the pumpkins, or they can just create a freeform design as they go.
  2. To begin, paint an even coat of Mod Podge in a small area of the pumpkin. Next, paint Mod Podge onto the back of a paper clipping and place on that coated area of the pumpkin, smoothing out. Paint more Mod Podge over the top of the clipping in an even coat, covering it completely. Kids can press the paper down to mold to the shape of the pumpkin, overlap clippings, or let some areas slightly stand up off the pumpkin for a three dimensional effect. Mod Podge will look milky when wet, but will dry clear and shiny when dry.
  3. Move around the surface of the pumpkin, painting Mod Podge and adding paper clippings, working in one small area at a time until the pumpkin is covered in collage.
  4. Be sure to keep these pumpkins inside until Halloween as any stormy, wet weather may dissolve the glue.

 I’m Melting!

Give pumpkins a colorful, drippy-candle look with melted crayons.

Supplies:
Instructions:
  1. Paint entire pumpkin with dark- or light-colored acrylic craft paint. Let dry
  2. Adhere halved crayons around the top of the pumpkin with Mod Podge. Let dry completely.
  3. Hold hairdryer, on medium-heat setting, above crayons and heat evenly until they begin to melt. As the crayons melt, the wax will ooze down the side of the pumpkin.
  4. Continue to blow hairdryer on crayons until you achieve the desired drip effect.
  5. Let dry.

Watching You

Googly eyes come in all sizes and make it easy for kids to creep out their friends and family.

Supplies:
Instructions:
  1. Paint entire pumpkin with black acrylic craft paint. Let dry.
  2. Adhere googly eyes around the pumpkin with Mod Podge.
  3. Draw glow-in-the-dark puffy around some of the eyes to make them stand when the sun goes down.

Stash Cleanup

Use pumpkin decorating as an opportunity to clean up the stash of craft supplies around the house. Using stickers, jewels, glow-in-the-dark stars, even glitter—if you dare—gives kids a chance to test their imagination. Standard glue may not stick to pumpkins, so channel your inner mad scientists and experiment with different adhesive methods, such as adhesive putty, push pins, etc.

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